Northeastern Recruits to Play in USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game
Future Huskies John Stevens, Jason Cotton and Ross Olsson were selected to play in the second annual USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on January 23rd. Former Husky Cam Darcy will also participate.
The game, which will be played in Muskegon, is designed as a showcase for USHL players who are eligible for the NHL Draft or will be in the near future. Current Husky Kevin Roy appeared in this game last year before being drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2012 Draft. Olsson and Stevens are both draft eligible for the first time this year. Cotton will be eligible for the 2014 Draft.
The three recruits have all had very different seasons and were likely selected for very different reasons. John Stevens is in the middle of a tremendous year for the league leading Dubuque Saints. In his first full USHL season, Stevens is putting up just under a point per game with 26 (8 goals, 18 assists) in 29 games. His success has boosted his draft stock and this game will provide him with a great chance to push himself even further up the draft boards.
While the transition from Prep to the USHL has gone smoothly for Stevens, it isn’t always that easy. Ross Olsson is also in his first USHL season, but he has had a tough go of things so far. Olsson has appeared in just 19 of 29 games for the Lincoln Stars. He has just 2 goals and 2 assists to go with his 48 penalty minutes. He has just recently got back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for 5 straight games. Northeastern has already deferred him to 2014, but that has not diminished his draft hopes. The 6’4 Billerica native has NHL size, but still needs to add some muscle and improve his skating. Despite being raw, he looks likely to be picked in this summer’s draft. Olsson was rated as a B Skater on the Central Scouting Service’s Preliminary Watch List. He also appeared in the first All-American Prospect Game in September. He was one of the very few players selected who did not come out of the USNTDP. So despite his struggles in adjusting to the USHL, the consensus is that Olsson has a bright future ahead.
The most interesting selection on the entire roster may be Jason Cotton. Cotton is a ’95 birthdate playing in his first USHL season for the Tri City Storm. He is slated to come to Northeastern in 2014. Cotton’s selection is interesting both in that he is one of the younger players selected to the game and due to the fact that he has managed just 1 point (an assist) and a minus-11 rating in his 25 USHL games. Cotton is coming off a season where he was a point per game player for his Colorado Thunderbirds midget team. Like Olsson, Cotton has size, but needs to add bulk. But at 17 years old, he has plenty of time. Cotton’s first USHL season has not been a memorable one, but he has another season and a half before he is due on campus, so he has time to develop.
Being selected to this game is a huge honor and opportunity for all 3 of these guys. It is also a good sign for the future of Northeastern hockey. Having these players selected also looks good for Northeastern, as it shows they are recruiting guys with high ceiling. Good luck and congratulations to all 3 players.